Junk food is an informal term for food that is of little nutritional value and often high in fat, sugar, and calories.
It is widely believed that the term was coined by Michael Jacobson, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, in 1972.
Junk foods typically contain high levels of calories from sugar or fat with little protein, vitamins or minerals. Common junk foods include salted snack foods, gum, candy, sweet desserts, fried fast food, and carbonated beverages.
A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny at the Scripps Research Institute (2008) suggested that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a manner similar to addictive drugs like cocaine or heroin.
 After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure. After the junk food was taken away and replaced with a healthy diet, the rats starved for two weeks instead of eating nutritious fare. A 2007 British Journal of Nutrition study found that female rats who eat junk food during pregnancy increased the likelihood of unhealthy eating habits in their offspring.
A report published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology suggests that babies of mothers with a high-sugar and high-fat diet while pregnant are more prone to junk food themselves. The study was conducted on rats and suggests that “infants whose mothers eat excessive amounts of high-fat, high-sugar junk foods when pregnant or breastfeeding are likely to have a greater preference for these foods later in life.”
To reduce unhealthy foods, in December 2011 Denmark has introduced the first fat-food tax in the world by imposing a surcharge on foods that contain more than 2.3 percent saturated fat. Hungary has also imposed a tax on packaged foods that contain unhealthy concentrations, such as beverages containing more than 20 mg of caffeine per 100.
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Junk food is an Informal Term. (2018, Aug 29). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/junk-food-is-an-informal-term/